So the pastor had her first administrative council meeting with one of the churches on Sunday. I was not able to attend due to childcare responsibilities, and frankly, I am just fine with that. I am not one who enjoys meetings, but having said that, I'm not sure who really does. I suppose there are some people from different parts of the Myers-Briggs spectrum who really get a charge out of such things, though. In one of her previous appointments, now that I think about it, there were some people who seemed to get a perverse joy out of conflicts and arguments, and no issue was too insignificant for a battle to be waged. That's not the case here.
I have written before about the innate dysfunction of churches, much like the dysfunction of most families. We are human, so we do not relate perfectly to one another. With the folks at this appointment, there is some division at the moment, but it does not seem insurmountable. It's more related to the change in pastoral leadership, which is understandable. For many of these people, they've know each other and worshiped with each other for decades - their whole lives spent together. Often in a rural area, but it can happen in the middle of a big city too, a certain provincialism takes hold and folks can't see past their own little worlds. In that situation, small disagreements get magnified and stretched out of proportion.
So what do you do when you are trying to lead people through something that seems insignificant to you, but makes the people you're attempting to lead shake with anger and fear? I am not sure I know, but I do know some things that you shouldn't do. For one thing, the anger/fear can't be allowed to drive decisions. If the leader decides to act or not act based solely on wanting to avoid conflict or hurt feelings, she is letting fear do the leading.
Throughout this ministry adventure, we have tried to make pleasing God our number one goal. Sometimes we fall short, but we've tried to maintain focus on that goal regardless. I am hopeful that we can make that the goal of the two churches she is serving. Based on feedback from many parishioners, there is much reason for optimism about that. I know it's early in our time with them, but I feel quite optimistic about the possibilities here - "Aslan is on the move."